Everybody has their take on being “Slashdotted” or experiencing the “Digg Effect”. Most website owners would give their right pinky for the kind of traffic that grinds servers to a dead halt. If the end result of all that attention gets you what you want, all is well. Question is, is everyone getting what they really, really want?

Matt Bailey, search marketing analyst, usability and accessibility guy and expert on a bulldozer (long story), thought to crunch some numbers, including mine after this weekend’s events here to have a look underneath the social media hood.

He starts the discussion of his findings in Social Media – Under the Microscope

Social Media provides a “sugar-high” approach to building links, much less an online business. It provides a lot of traffic, very fast. However the vast majority of that traffic is not engaged, rarely stays for more than a few seconds and can sometimes be rude. If page views are the goal for a site, social media will provide a lot of one-off page views, but rarely more than that. Comparatively, good external links provide traffic that will view multiple pages – typically many more than social media traffic.

His data confirmed my experience.

Despite the higher rates of conversion and engagement by visitors who are referred by external site links, social media site links consistently yielded the lowest rates of engagement and no conversions.”

He hopes to gather more data. There’s much to explore. If you are a website marketer, what can you promise your clients that will pay off for them in the long run?

Counter point – Social Media Traffic Isn’t Useless by Rand Fishkin.

More perspective – Techmeme vs. Digg – Knowing Your Audience & Client by Liana Evans


Not All Traffic Is Created Equal by Scott Karp

Beyond Google: Social Media Engines First, Other Search Engines Second by Danny Sullivan

The Digging Debate: Is Social Media Worthless? by Tamar Weinberg

Social Media Too Sweet For Websites by David A. Utter

Free Software Testing and Beta Testers Wanted
Godmother of Search Race Between Jill and Kim


Kim Krause Berg’s long background in web design, SEO and usability includes software application functional and user interface testing, accessibility, information architecture and persuasive design. She shared her passion for Usability and SEO through her site and private consulting at Cre8pc for 17 years. Kim founded Cre8asiteforums in 1998. In the fall of 2012 she sold her forums to Internet Marketing Ninjas and retired from private consulting to join their Executive Management team where she continues her work in usability testing, customer experience and conversions design.

My Online Course: Web Site Usability 101


American Society for Information Science and Technology (ASIS&T)

Information Architecture Institute

Usability Professionals Association (UPA)